After a two-week break, the FIA Formula 1 World Championship returns as teams travelled to Portimao for the Portuguese Grand Prix, starting with an hour of running in Free Practice 1.
The session was topped by Valtteri Bottas as he looks to make amends in Portugal this weekend after struggling around Imola two weeks ago before colliding with George Russell.
Max Verstappen came in second, although there were concerns at the end of the morning session as the Dutchman complained about vibrations and lack of temperature in his soft tyres before setting his fastest time of the session.
The seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton struggled at the beginning and called the W12 “undrivable” and couldn’t match the speed of his teammate, only going fifth fastest. Verstappen’s Red Bull Racing teammate Sergio Perez found himself in third, a significant improvement compared to the previous two Grand Prix.
Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow showed some promise of closing the gap to McLaren F1 Team in Imola after finishing fourth and fifth and continued to add further evidence in Portugal this morning. Charles Leclerc recorded the fourth fastest time, five-tenths behind Bottas, while his teammate Carlos Sainz Jr was seventh quickest.
One team that seems to enjoy the Friday practice sessions are Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda with Pierre Gasly going sixth fastest and the rookie driver, Yuki Tsunoda, in the thirteenth, who be keen to remove the memories of qualifying in Imola.
Russell makes it in to the top ten
The surprise of the morning session was Russell, who was seventh fastest, just eight-tenths behind Bottas despite being in a Williams Racing, but it’s likely that the British driver was on a qualifying simulation. His teammate Nicholas Latifi was near the bottom of the grid in the nineteenth.
Lando Norris enjoyed a spectacular weekend in Imola last time out, finishing third to record the second podium finish of his career and will be hoping to build on that performance this weekend. The British driver continued to out-perform his new teammate Daniel Ricciardo as he finished eighth fastest with Australian in twelfth.
Alpine F1 Team managed to score their first points of the season in Imola two weeks ago after both drivers were promoted into the top ten after Kimi Raikkonen received a penalty. The newly re-branded team continue to float in the bottom ten, with Esteban Ocon in tenth and two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso in fourteenth.
Arguably, the biggest disappointments so far this season is Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team, and the morning practice session in Portugal suggests it won’t improve. Lance Stroll went eleventh fastest, five-tenths quicker than his four-time world champion teammate Sebastian Vettel in sixteenth. The German also had a moment to forget as he drove into McLaren pit-box, a similar place to where Ferrari was last season.
Callum Ilott participated in his first-ever F1 practice session after joining Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN second reserve driver in the week. The 2020 F2 runner-up out-performed Michael Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin to go seventeenth fastest, only four-tenths behind veteran Raikkonen in the fifteenth.
Unsurprisingly, Uralkali Haas F1 Team found themselves at the bottom of the pack. Schumacher continued to out-do his fellow teammate and rookie, while both drivers drove around the Algarve circuit for the first time in their careers.
The morning session is useful for data collection, however, it doesn’t give us a true representation of performance and pace around the track, with the second session likely to give us more information ahead of the weekend.
|1||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:19.648||31|
|2||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:19.673||+0.025s||23|
|3||11||Sergio Pérez||MEX||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:19.846||+0.198s||22|
|4||16||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow||1:19.884||+0.236s||27|
|5||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:19.967||+0.319s||32|
|6||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:20.444||+0.796s||31|
|7||63||George Russell||GBR||Williams Racing||1:20.529||+0.881s||29|
|8||4||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||1:20.635||+0.987s||26|
|9||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||ESP||Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow||1:20.680||+1.032s||27|
|10||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Alpine F1 Team||1:20.800||+1.152s||27|
|11||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||1:20.894||+1.246s||29|
|12||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||McLaren F1 Team||1:20.995||+1.347s||31|
|13||22||Yuki Tsunoda||JAP||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:21.090||+1.442s||28|
|14||14||Fernando Alonso||ESP||Alpine F1 Team||1:21.303||+1.655s||31|
|15||7||Kimi Räikkönen||FIN||Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen||1:21.381||+1.733s||25|
|16||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||1:21.405||+1.757s||31|
|17||98||Callum Ilott||GBR||Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen||1:21.806||+2.158s||21|
|18||47||Mick Schumacher||GER||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||1:21.939||+2.291s||29|
|19||6||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||1:22.293||+2.645s||29|
|20||9||Nikita Mazepin||RUS||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||1:24.224||+4.576s||29|